A Tribute to Rex Campbell

By Pastor Mark McAdow
I was privileged to be Rex’s pastor for the last 5 ½ years.  He joined Willow View United Methodist Church on Oct. 12, 1986, just a year after we moved out of downtown to our present location on Purdue.  Although he couldn’t attend worship much in these last several years, we were able to visit at his Burgundy apartment and later at Greenbrier.  I last saw him a few weeks ago when I delivered him our current Lenten devotional.  I signed it, “Happy Easter, Rex! We love you! Pastor Mark.”

The Bible says in Psalm 90:10: “The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”  Rex did suffer some trouble and sorrow in his military service, with the loss of his precious bride, son and other family members, but he also experienced God’s amazing grace and faithfulness.  Rex surpassed God’s great promise of life on this earth by over 20 years!  I was present with many of you to celebrate his 100th birthday year in such a grand way on the front porch of Greenbrier with military personnel and vehicles present, police and fire, local dignitaries and television coverage from Oklahoma City.  He was so very happy and yet so very humble.  He brushed off much of the attention, but we were all so very proud of him.

Rex had a great personality and sense of humor.  I wish I would have written down some of his classic lines.  But he always spoke with a smile and was always appreciative of your visits.  He told me he sent his “younger” brother a birthday card featuring an older man with a walker on the cover. Inside it read: “Don’t buy any green bananas! Happy Birthday!” His brother called him and was laughing so hard, he could barely speak.  I’m so very thankful Rex’s life story has been recorded by many different sources on video for generations to come.  Willow View Church produced its own tribute to Rex several years ago, too.  He was a beloved member of our congregation for 37 years.

For several years, Rex would arrange to send me a Christmas gift as his pastor.  It would come in early December from a company in Texas, as I recall.  What was it?  A traditional classic Texas fruitcake!  Though I’m not really a fan of fruitcake, I always received it with a smile and great appreciation because it was such a thoughtful gift from Rex.  Rex and I had a special bond like many of you.  I told him I had a favorite uncle named Rex, too.  Do you know what the meaning of Rex’s name is?  Rex means “king” and the spiritual connotation is “leadership.”  His true first name is Melton, which means “blessed of God,” and certainly Rex was!  We were all blessed to know him as well.  Our lives are richer because of Rex Campbell!  I salute you, brother Rex and thank God for your life of service and significance.

Yours in Christ’s love,
Pastor Mark McAdow

P.S.: Be sure to join us this Sunday as we welcome several new families into the life of Willow View Church.  It’s exciting to see what the Lord is doing at the “new” Willow View.

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